By Peter Willetts
From J. B. Baylis and S. Smith (eds.), The Globalisation of World Politics, (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, second edition, 2001), pp. 356-383. This copy does not contain the various boxes and diagrams that are in the book.
Please note that this document is set for A4 paper, so US users should change the File-PageSetUp-PaperSize to Letter before printing.
• Problems with the State-Centric Approach
• Transnational Companies as Political Actors
• Non-Legitimate Groups and Liberation Movements as Political Actors
• Non-Governmental Organizations as Political Actors
• International Organizations as Structures of Global Politics
• Issues and Policy Systems in Global Politics 305
The subject of International Relations originally covered simply the relations between states, for example Britain’s relations with India. Economic bodies and social groups, such as banks, industrial companies, students, environmentalists, and women’s organisations, were given secondary status as non-state actors. This two-tier approach has been challenged, particularly by the effects of globalisation. First, ambiguities in the meaning given to ‘a state’, and its mismatch with the contemporary world, result in it not being a useful concept. Greater clarity is obtained by analysing intergovernmental and inter-society relations, with no presumption that one sector is more important than the other. Second, we can recognize governments are losing sovereignty when faced with the economic activities of transnational companies and the violent threat from criminals and guerrillas. Third, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engage in such a web of global relations, including participation in diplomacy, that governments have lost their political independence. We conclude that events in any area of global policy-making have to be... [continues]
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